in Leticia Jenkins' health class at James Monroe High School in the North Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. She says that a new sex ed law, the California Healthy Youth Act, implemented in the state's public schools for the first time in the 2016-2017 school year, has given her legal backing to teach what she believes all health educators in the state should have been doing all along.
The students were huddled in groups, whispering and writing down their answers on personal dry erase boards to questions like, "What do we call the name of the surgical procedure that removes the foreskin of the male penis? That is, providing sex education that is medically accurate and current, unbiased, does not promote religion, and is inclusive of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.
Let's put it this way, it took me a long time to be able to have the lights on during intimate moments.
But I don't think I'm alone in still finding it hard to talk openly about sex.
Despite this progress, rates in the US are still higher than many other industrialized nations.
Teen girls in the US are more than twice as likely to become pregnant than teens in Canada and France, and seven times more likely than their counterparts in Switzerland.
The unintended pregnancy and teen pregnancy rates in the US have declined significantly in recent years and the latter has reached a record low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.And that, as I've learned first-hand, can adversely affect one's relationships and health.Now in my forties, I can honestly say that my inability to talk about sex has led to some risky behavior throughout my life.I told my teacher that my dad flatly refused to sign the paper, saying, "Sex ed in 5th grade? I recall her telling me that it was the first time she ever went to a student's house.She explained to Dad that the course was more about anatomy than sex.